Athletics

Russian marathon star banned

Liliya Shobukhova (Getty Images)
Liliya Shobukhova (Getty Images)

Moscow - Russian marathon star Liliya Shobukhova was on Tuesday banned for two years by the national track and field athletics federation's anti-doping panel.

Shobukhova won the Chicago marathon in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and the London marathon in 2010.

The 36-year-old was banned based on abnormalities in the haematological profile of her biological passport, which indicates a high probability of blood doping.

The ban will be backdated to January 24, 2013 and will end on January 23, 2015.

Russian Athletics said that all Shobukhova's results from October 9, 2009, were cancelled, meaning her marathon best of 2:18:20, set in winning in Chicago in 2011, will be wiped from the record books.

Shobukhova also holds the European record over 5 000m (14:23.75) and 3 000m indoors (8:27.86).

Britain's Paula Radcliffe, the marathon world record holder, said on Twitter: "Lilya Shobukhova finally exposed as a drug cheat.

"Fraud on so many levels, so much money effectively stolen in appearance fees, winnings and endorsements."

Shobukhova can appeal the ban, which will also see her second place in the 2011 London Marathon cancelled.

Race director Hugh Brasher said in a statement: "London Marathon is at the forefront of the fight against doping in our sport and we are very proud to have been the first major marathon to introduce blood testing for all of our elite competitors, prior to each event.

"This mandatory blood testing commenced at the London Marathon in 2002 and has continued with all our elite competitors throughout.

"As one of the world's leading marathons, we continue to work very closely with UK Anti-Doping, the IAAF and WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) with the aim of eradicating drug taking in our sport."

World Marathon Majors (WMM) is a series that includes the top six marathons in the world - London, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Berlin and Tokyo.

WMM general counsel Nick Bitel said: "WMM will continue to hold a stern line and supports all measures to ensure the integrity of the athletes competing in their races.

"Cheats need to understand that they are not welcome in our sport and that they will be caught."

Shobukhova will have to repay her prize and appearance money from the London and Chicago races.

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